Clean beauty, natural beauty, green beauty—what does it all mean and why should you care? There are a ton of misconceptions about toxin-free skincare, sunscreen, makeup, fragrance, and hair care products. You might think it’s expensive, of course, or hard to find, or even not really necessary.
But this genre is only getting bigger and bigger, especially thanks to Sephora’s huge announcement of their new shopping category called “Clean at Sephora,” which is an in-store and online initiative making it easier to both identify and shop for brands and products that prioritize leaner ingredients. Each product designated as “clean” by Sephora will now have a green seal of approval on the packaging so you can quickly identify it.
But what does “clean” mean when it comes to beauty? In general, when that word is thrown around in beauty, it’s meant to say it’s without—specifically without a long list of ingredients, like sulfates, parabens, formaldehydes, formaldehyde-releasing agents, phthalates, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclosan, and triclocarban. (Other retailers, like Follain and CAP Beauty, have a restricted list much, much longer though; more of their products are on the full organic side.)
Why should you care about that list of ‘no-no’s’? As Follain explains on their site, “Ingredients can be harmful for different reasons. Some may dry out skin while others have been linked to cancer. Often, these ingredients are put into products to make them more pleasing—whether to smell a certain way, create a richer lather or give them a longer shelf life. But our bodies don’t know how to process them.”
Still with us? Good, because with this Sephora initiative and focus on cleaner products, we’re one step closer to making things easier, which is entirely the point of clean beauty—it should be easy for you to identify exactly what’s in a product.
This Sephora movement is rad, no doubt, but brands like CAP Beauty, Follain, Credo, Shen Beauty, and Goop, paved the way here. Each of these companies is trying to make the world of toxin-free beauty easier to understand and empowering you with knowledge, thanks in part to their blogs, like Follain’s Clean Beauty 101 or Shen’s Blog, that break down everything from aluminum-free deodorants to expecting mother’s beauty in simple terms.
If you’re newer to clean beauty, entering this world can feel a bit like learning a new language with all the jargon. Allow us to make a few suggestions of places to start or products we’re pretty sure you’re going to love.
Get Happy Body Wash, PLANT Apothecary, $18
This body wash is bright, uplifting, fresh scent, but without all the parabens, SLS and silicones (or harsh scents). And it’s handmade in Brooklyn, by a team of adults with physical and medical disabilities at the nonprofit BKLYN UNLTD workshop.